8 Unusual Things to Do On Mackinac Island

8 Unusual Things to Do On Mackinac Island

8 Unusual Things to Do On Mackinac Island

If you are looking for something a bit out of the ordinary to do on Mackinac Island, then you have come to the right place. The island is full of unique experiences that will make your vacation unforgettable.

From kayaking with locals to stargazing at night, I am here to tell you about the top unusual things to do on Mackinac Island. So let’s get started.

8 Unusual Things to Do On Mackinac Island


  • Kayaking With Locals
  • Stargazing
  • Going On a Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour
  • Taking an Island History Tour
  • Visiting the Historic Fort Mackinac
  • Anne’s Tablet Shrine
  • Fort Holmes
  • Taking a Ghost Tour of The Island


  1. Kayaking With Locals

Mackinac Island is a popular destination for tourists looking to enjoy Michigan’s natural beauty. What many people don’t know, however, is that the island has over 80 miles of shoreline and provides some amazing kayaking opportunities!

According to Visit Mackinac Island, more than 150,000 visitors participated in water sports on the island each year from 2018-2020.

One of my favorite ways to explore the island is by taking a tour with one of the local guides who can show you all there is to see from the water. 

The guides are knowledgeable about both the human and natural history of Mackinac Island and love sharing their knowledge as they paddle through coves and bays.

You will get close-up views of wildlife such as bald eagles and ospreys while learning about the cultural significance behind various landmarks like Fort Mackinac or Arch Rock.

I highly recommend booking an afternoon out on the waters around Mackinac Island. With breathtaking views, interesting stories, and plenty of fresh air – it makes for a truly unforgettable experience. 

  1. Stargazing

After a day of kayaking with the locals, I decided to take in some of Mackinac Island’s natural beauty.

 As the sun slowly set behind me over Lake Huron, I settled into a spot on the shoreline and let my thoughts drift away as I gazed up at the stars. The dark sky was full of bright starlight that seemed to go on forever.

I felt so small compared to this vast night sky but also incredibly connected to it all; part of something much bigger than myself. It was an incredible moment, one that will stay with me for years to come.

While strolling the streets of Mackinaw City, I discovered an interesting show just across the Mackinac Bridge. The show was called jackpinelumberjackshows.

Seeing world-champion lumberjacks demonstrate skills like sawing, axe throwing, and log rolling was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I will certainly recommend you visit this family-friendly venue.

  1. Going On a Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour

Going on a horse-drawn carriage tour of Mackinac Island is one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had! It was great to see all the sites and attractions from such an old-fashioned vehicle.

The horse-drawn carriages are kept in pristine condition, so you can be sure that your ride will be comfortable and peaceful. Plus, it is just so romantic to get around the island this way – there isn’t any other experience quite like it!

The drivers were very knowledgeable about all of the sights we passed along our route. They told us stories about historical events or people related to each location, which made the whole experience even more interesting.

Even if you don’t have much knowledge about Mackinac Island itself, you will still learn something new during your tour. I got some amazing photos during my trip too – everything looks different between two horses’ heads!

There is no doubt that going on a horse-drawn carriage tour is an essential part of exploring Mackinac Island. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about its culture and history. 

  1. Taking an Island History Tour

Mackinac Island is an experience like no other. It is a place that pulls you in with its beauty and keeps you captivated by its unique charms. Taking an island history tour is one of the most fascinating ways to explore this magical destination.

 The stories, sights, and sounds of Mackinac will be revealed as we venture into:

The Buildings & Sites:

  • Grand Hotel
  • Mission Church
  • Fort Holmes

The Legends & Lore:

  • Creation Mythology
  • Shipwreck Tales
  •  Famous People Stories

From tales of shipwrecks to insights into famous people who have visited the region. Every story will leave you enthralled. You don’t need to be a history buff to appreciate the richness of these narratives as each one paints a colorful picture of Mackinac’s past.

  1.   Visiting the Historic Fort Mackinac

From taking an island history tour to learning about the historic Fort Mackinac, there is much more to explore on this beautiful island. Visiting Fort Mackinac gives you a chance to enjoy breathtaking views of the harbor as well as learn about its rich and varied past. 

Built by British forces in 1780 during the Revolutionary War, what stands today at Fort Mackinac was once part of a larger fortification that originally had three blockhouses, four barracks buildings, and many other features typical of forts from that period.

It is easy to imagine how life must have been here when it was occupied by American troops following the end of the war in 1783. 

Learn about the people and events that shaped this place over hundreds of years by strolling among the ruins or taking a guided tour with knowledgeable park rangers.


As if that isn’t enough, visitors are also able to see some of the collections inside many restored historical structures including log homes, officers’ quarters, and various museums. 

With so much to discover at this amazing site, it is no wonder why it has become one of Mackinaw Island’s most popular attractions.

  1. Anne’s Tablet Shrine

It is difficult to miss Fort Mackinac. Visitors are welcome to explore Mackinac Island’s majestic fort, which overlooks the island’s bluff. Many people are unaware of the fact that the surroundings of the fort contain some hidden gems.

For instance, Marquette Park provides access to the wooded area above the fort via a wooden staircase. There is a can’t-miss view of Mackinac Straits in the Dell that contains Anne’s Tablet, the shrine dedicated to Constance Fenimore Woolson, a writer of the 19th century.

This is one of the most picturesque places in the world, which compels you to pause and take in the view. Located not too far from downtown, this is a great “hidden gem.”

7. Fort Holmes

Perhaps you are familiar with Fort Mackinac, but are you familiar with Fort Holmes as well? Located on the highest point of Mackinac Island, the fort was constructed by British forces in 1814. A British attack on this base was anticipated by the Americans, so it served as a defense for the British.

Recently, a fort was completely restored, including a blockhouse and wood walls. It is certainly worth the effort to visit the fort to see the restoration, but this is not the only reward you will receive.

Also, you will have a clear view of Mackinac Island and its surrounding waters from every angle. After a few minutes, it is clear why it was used as a lookout point by the British.

  1. Taking a Ghost Tour of The Island

Mackinac Island is home to a variety of unique experiences, but one of the most exciting has to be taking a ghost tour. For those brave enough to explore the island after dark, you can learn about the haunted history and folklore surrounding this spooky location.

Believe it or not, Mackinac Island was ranked as America’s 7th Most Haunted Destination by USA Today in 2020! The tours are available year-round and they take visitors through some of the oldest parts of the island.

You will get an up-close look at all sorts of eerie locations like abandoned cemeteries and old fortifications from centuries ago. Along the way, your guide will tell you stories about mysterious sightings and strange happenings that have been reported for years on the island. 

It is an activity perfect for thrill seekers who want to experience something new while learning more about Mackinac Island’s past. If you are looking for an unforgettable experience during your stay on Mackinac Island, then signing up for a ghost tour is worth considering. 

Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, there is still plenty here to enjoy – from exploring hidden gems around town to hearing captivating tales about days gone by! 


Mackinac Island is a great vacation destination for anyone looking to do something different. Whether you want to take a horse-drawn carriage tour or spend an evening stargazing – there’s no shortage of activities on Mackinac Island!

My family and I recently visited the island and had a wonderful time exploring all that it has to offer. We rented kayaks and paddled around the harbor while watching boats come in from their day trips.

Afterward, we toured Fort Mackinac and spent some time admiring the historic buildings. It was a wonderful experience, one that we will never forget!


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